Google is licensing the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser, as part of changes introduced in order to comply with an EU antitrust order.
This means that Google will charge smartphone makers a licensing fee for using its popular Google Play app store and will also allow them to use rival versions of its Android mobile operating system.
Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with other apps helped Google fund the development and free distribution of Android, the company will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.
Google is also updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA).
The European Economic Area (EEA) comprises the 28 EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Google will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome. The company will also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome.
These new licensing options will come into effect on October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA.
Google announced the changes on Tuesday, three months after the European Commission handed it a landmark 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine for using its popular Android mobile operating system to hinder rivals.
EU antitrust enforcers in their July decision said Google's anti-competitive behavior, which dated to 2011, included forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser together with its Google Play app store on their Android devices.
Google has informed the European Commission of the changes while the company's appeal is pending.